The latest news stories from the major news organizations in Cebu and Manila in the Philippines, the US and other countries.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

July 29, 2009 Major News Stories

H1N1 flu claims lives of 2 OFWs

Filipina with A(H1N1) dies in Hong Kong

The Filipino female worker who was diagnosed as a "serious" Influenza A(H1N1) case in Hong Kong passed away on Monday, the Philippine consulate general there announced on Tuesday.

Philippine Consul General to Hong Kong Claro Cristobal said the 37-year-old woman from Tarlac passed away at 5:47 p.m. at the United Christian Hospital in Kowloon.

Cristobal did not identify the woman but said she was first diagnosed with severe pneumonia on July 7 and was confirmed by Hong Kong health authorities as a "serious" A(H1N1) case four days later.

She is survived by her husband and their six month-old son who reside in the Philippines.

Her husband, who arrived in Hong Kong last July 24, was at the woman's bedside at the time of her death.

WHO official warns against spread of A (H1N1) flu virus during cold months

AN official from the World Health Organization (WHO) warned yesterday that cases of Influenza A (H1N1) may double within the start of the cold season, particularly in November to January.

9 Leyte towns breached by A(H1N1)

One village under state of calamity A village in Baybay town in Leyte province has been placed under a state of calamity after nine elementary school pupils were found positive for influenza A(H1N1) virus, a local health officer said.
Dr. Edgardo Daya of the Leyte provincial health office's A(H1N1) monitoring center said nine pupils from the Guadalupe Elementary School in Baybay were confirmed infected with the new influenza virus.

"The village of Guadalupe in Baybay is now under a state of calamity," Daya said, as he reported latest results of the provincial health office's A(H1N1) monitoring.

He said a total of 95 people from 9 towns in Leyte have tested positive for A(H1N1). Majority of the patients are students, he said.

The other towns with confirmed A(H1N1) cases are: Palo, Sta. Fe, San Miguel, Carigara, Barugo, Lapaz, Hilongos, and MacArthur.

On Monday, the Holy Trinity College in Alang-Alang town suspended its classes for 10 days after four of its students were confirmed infected with the virus. 

Daya said 6 other schools have already been affected by the virus. These are: the Sacred Heart Seminary, Bethel International School, Sta. Rosa National High School, San Miguel National High School, Barugo Central School, and the Philippine Science High School.

Flu-hit Misamis Occ. schools suspend classes

Classes in 12 public and private schools in nine villages of Tudela town in Misamis Occidental have been suspended since Monday to prevent students from being infected with the Influenza A(H1N1) virus.

2 more kids die of dengue; cases still fewer this year

DENGUE claimed two more young lives in Cebu City, bringing to 13 the number of deaths due to the mosquito-borne disease.

Arroyo cuts cost of essential meds by 50%

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has signed an executive order that would impose a mandatory across-the-board 50 per cent price reduction on five essential medicines whose prices drug companies have refused to voluntarily lower.

Executive Order 821 listed the maximum retail price for the anti-hypertensive amlodipine (including its S-isomer and all salt form); the anti-cholesterol atorvastatin; the antibiotic/antibacterial azithromycin (and all its salt form); and the anti-neoplastics/anti-cancer cytarabine and doxorubicin (and all its salt form).  

  • Amlodipine (anti-hypertensive) 

  • Atorvastatin (anti-cholesterol)

  • Azithromycin (anti-biotic, anti-bacterial)

  • Cytarabine (anti-cancer) 

  • Doxorubicin (anti-cancer)

The price reduction will take effect on August 15.

Last week, pharmaceutical companies have acceded to reduce by 50 per cent the prices of 16 other essential medicines which the Department of Health has found to be exorbitantly priced.

Drug companies have also offered to voluntarily reduce the prices of 22 other medicines that were not included in the list recommended for price ceiling.

Ms Arroyo issued the EO 821 as an exercise of her mandate under the so-called "cheaper medicines law" which assigned the President the power to impose the maximum retail price on selected essential medicines on the recommendation of the health secretary.

Passenger jet held in Cebu over bomb threat

A Singapore-bound SilkAir flight was held and the aircraft towed to an isolated area at Cebu airport on Tuesday amid a bomb threat, the authorities and the carrier said.  A SilkAir statement issued in Singapore said the airline was alerted by airport authorities in Cebu, in the central Philippines, "regarding a bomb threat they had received pertaining to SilkAir's flight, MI 541, which was scheduled to depart from Cebu, bound for Singapore, at 1: 30 p.m. (0530GMT)."

121 safe as ferry capsizes off So. Leyte

A ferry capsized in rough seas off a central Philippines island on Tuesday, but all 121 people aboard were rescued, the coastguard said.

The Ocean King tipped over onto its right side near the southern tip of Panaon island, Chief Petty Officer Manolito Dacel of the Southern Leyte coastguard told Agence France-Presse by telephone.

The ferry was carrying passengers, cargo and vehicles from the southern port of Surigao on neighboring Mindanao island, he added.

High school student killed

A HIGH school senior was killed after his classmate bashed his head with a piece of wood inside the classroom yesterday morning.

John Carlo Lumba, 18, did not make it alive to the Jesus Paras Emergency Hospital in Carcar, after suffering five blows in the head.

Another escapee surrenders to Carmen police

After he was convinced by his family, one of the detainees that escaped from the Carmen Police Station dawn last Sunday has turned himself over back to authorities.

Rannie Manulat, 20, who is facing charges for illegal possession of firearms charges, was accompanied by his parents and sisters in surrendering to the Carmen police yesterday.

However, two more detainees – Marcelino Pisao and Chistopher Berot who are facing robbery charges for allegedly burglarizing public schools in the town – remain at large.

Manulat, Pisao and Berot slipped past security Sunday dawn when the guard on duty was reportedly deep asleep. Two more detainees escaped with them – Jeffrey Jagdon, 20, a locksmith, and a 16-year-old boy who was accused of rape.

Jagdon was arrested evening on the same day in Danao City while the 16-year-old boy surrendered back to the police the next day.

CCMC College of Nursing: Only city residents would be accepted

Youth vote can tip poll results – poll exec

An election official reminded the youth that their nine million voted had the power to influence the results of the 2010 elections.  "Nine million votes from the youth can spell the future of our country so the youth must recognize the importance of their role in the 2010 elections," Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said in a forum at the De La Salle University in Manila.

SC sets parameters in poll automation case

The Supreme Court has directed the parties in the nullification case against the P7.2-billion election automation contract to focus their discussions on whether the deal did not violate laws on computerized elections.

The tribunal came up with the advisory in connection with the oral arguments scheduled for Wednesday afternoon on the petition of the Concerned Citizens' Movement against the Commission on Elections' contract with partners Smartmatic International and Total Information Management (TIM)

The parties were also required to direct their arguments on whether or not the Comelec could legally waive rules and policies on accuracy standards and whether measures have been taken to ensure clean and honest elections next year.

The Supreme Court also wants to know whether measures have been taken to prevent a repeat of the Mega-Pacific scandal wherein the government lost more than P1.2 billion after the Court nullified the first poll automation contract in 2004.

Comelec Chairman Jose Melo said he would not attend the oral arguments, but expressed confidence that the poll body could defend its contract with Smartmatic-TIM.

Solicitor General defends P7.2-B Comelec deal

Solicitor General Agnes Devanadera Monday defended the Commission on Elections' P7.2-billion contract with Smartmatic-Total Information Management against a citizens' group's charge that the deal did not comply with the law.

Palace: Arroyo stepping down in 2010

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo isn't done yet. Picking up from where she left off, her allies on Tuesday continued their verbal assault on her political foes amid criticisms over her final State of the Nation Address (Sona).  Press Secretary Cerge Remonde made it clear that Monday's Sona was Arroyo's "fitting valedictory as she prepares to leave office, and a restatement of the vision and mission she will bequeath to her future successor."

Sona glossed over suffering Filipinos – CBCP

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's last State of the Nation Address (Sona) did not reflect the reality lived by millions of ordinary Filipinos, according to the president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

Estrada son denies threatening Arroyo

Senator Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada has denied that his family had threatened to put President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in jail, as he even promised to treat her justly when she steps down from office next year.

Arroyo off to US on Wednesday to meet Obama

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is flying to Washington, DC Wednesday afternoon, taking along 20, not 100 congressmen on her visit to President Barack Obama.

But only five officials, including Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, will be with Arroyo during the actual meeting with Obama, Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said.

Remonde said Obama would bring the same number of officials in the meeting, which was being trumpeted by Malacañang as a first for any Southeast Asian leader.

But apparently stung by criticisms over Arroyo's foreign trips, the Palace pointed out that she and her delegation would board a commercial flight at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Military denies fielding spies

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has denied it fielded infiltrators during Monday's anti-government rally of leftwing activists.

Aquino blood pressure fluctuating – family

Former President Corazon Aquino's condition has shifted to "guarded" from stable, as her blood pressure fluctuates, according to a statement released by her family.

Aquino family 'prepared for any eventuality'

The family of former President Corazon Aquino is "prepared for any eventuality," her nephew said Tuesday following reports that her cancer had spread from her colon to her liver and internal organs.

Estrada pays a brief visit to Aquino

Former President Joseph Estrada visited ailing democracy icon Corazon Aquino at the Makati Medical Center about 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Cory raises awareness on colorectal cancer

MANILA - Former President Corazon Aquino's much-publicized battle against colorectal cancer has reportedly sparked a rise in the number of medical check-ups for the disease.  

Lacson: Dacer daughters' complaint 'hearsay'

Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Monday he would consult with his lawyers before deciding whether or not to show up on Friday for the first hearing of the Department of Justice's preliminary inquiry into the 2000 double murder of publicist Salvador "Bubby" Dacer and his driver, Emmanuel Corbito.

AFP: Video of Fil-Am at NPA camp authentic

The military claimed a video showing Filipino-American activist Melissa Roxas at a communist New People's Army camp was "authentic" but its intelligence service was still studying other pieces of evidence before it came to any conclusion.

Carpenter's 5-year-old son seized in Basilan

A five-year-old son of a carpenter was abducted by two unidentified men in front of his residence in Basilan province Monday night, a police spokesman said.

DepEd starts monitoring against TV violence

The Department of Education will begin monitoring television channels through a project aimed at reducing violent content that might be watched by children.

3 Pinoys getting HIV every day - UNDP

MANILA - The Philippines has seen an "alarming" increase in HIV cases in the past year, especially among overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and men who have sex with men (MSM), according to data by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).  

Stricter HIV/AIDS screening for OFWs set

Clinics screening overseas Filipino workers for work in the Middle East have pledged to institute stricter testing procedures amid reports of a rising number of OFWs with HIV/AIDS abroad, an industry group said.

Nurse forced to aid in abortion sues vs hospital

A Filipina nurse has filed charges against a hospital for allegedly forcing her to assist in a late-term abortion procedure in Brooklyn, New York City.

Tagbilaran trade fair exceeds sales targets

The regional trade fair held here last weekend posted total sales of P38.5 million, which exceeded the target set by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Tourism chief: Boracay airport ready by Sept.

The Caticlan airport, gateway to the internationally renowned resort island of Boracay, will be opened to bigger aircraft in September after the departments of tourism and transportation recently gave the go-ahead to upgrade the runway.

Suu Kyi verdict out on Friday – lawyer

A prison court in military-ruled Myanmar will deliver its verdict in the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi on Friday, a ruling that could see the democracy leader jailed for up to five years, her lawyer said.

Indonesian opposition challenges vote result

Indonesian opposition leader Megawati Sukarnoputri launched a Constitutional Court challenge Tuesday to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's election victory.

7 nabbed in US over 'jihad' plot

An American father, his two sons, and four others have been arrested in the southern United States and charged with plotting "jihad" against other countries including Israel, US officials said.

17 punished over Taiwan military sex video

Taiwan's military said Tuesday 17 servicemen have been punished over an obscene video involving two male sergeants while on duty, in a scandal that has sparked public outrage.

Doctor gave Jackson fatal drug—report

Michael Jackson's doctor administered the powerful drug police believed killed the music superstar, CNN quoting a source with knowledge of the investigation reported Monday.

Singer Aguilar sued over house renovation

A couple has filed a P560,000 damage suit against composer Freddie Aguilar for his alleged failure to heed his neighbors' request for him to install safety measures during renovations on his house in 2008.

Husband: 'Ruby Rose had a lover'

Madrigal joins calls vs dog racing bill

Senator Ma. Ana Consuelo Madrigal has joined animal rights groups in opposing a bill legalizing greyhound racing in Mandaue town, Cebu province.  "Sa greyhound racing, pag hindi sila nanalo, pinapatay sila. Cruel talaga [In greyhound racing, the dogs are killed if they lose. It's really cruel]," she said.  Madrigal said Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal also supported her position. 

Storm brewing east of RP -- Pagasa

A low pressure area over the Pacific Ocean could develop into a storm and enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) by the end of the week, the state weather bureau said Tuesday.

Intense exercise may cut risk of cancer death

PARIS—Men who regularly do heart-pounding exercise are less likely to develop cancer, according to a study released Tuesday.

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